But, I am going to do it. I am all signed up, I have completed my couch to 5K program and I am ready. My friend Becky and I will be running the EF5Kand Ed Thomas run in Parkersburg in just a short 8 days.
I few months back, I read The Sacred Acre. And well before that, I knew the story.
In May 2008, an EF5 tornado tore through Parkersburg, a town just down the interstate from my home. The destruction the town endured was phenomenal. Coach Thomas, the high school football coach, was one of the main resources in helping and encouraging the town to rebuild.
He was one of those men who was extremely respected. He was known to coach state winning football teams year after year. He had won an ESPY, and encouraged young men to find their faith.
I actually brought HJ to a park in Parkersburg last summer with some friends. When I first pulled into town, I thought it was a beautiful town. Everything looked pristine. And new. Then it struck me that it looked this way because everything had to be rebuilt. The beauty took on a sense of awe as I realized how much work had been done.
While the town was being rebuilt, Coach Thomas was in the make shift weight room of the high school. That is when the second tragedy struck this town.
A former football player came into the weight room and shot Coach Thomas. Coach Thomas died from the gunshot.
The way his family handled this act of violence really struck me. Most people would feel hatred towards the man who killed a family member. But the Thomas’s did not. They stood by the man’s family as they made a statement. They forgave.
I don’t know how they did, but they showed forgiveness and grace to this other family immediately.
Through all of this, Coach Thomas’s family started the Ed Thomas Family Foundation.
If you haven’t read the book, I would recommend it. I am so honored that the run we have chosen to run is to help the town of Parkersburg rebuild and to continue to grow.